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New Feature: Puck Rock

I often tell people that I’ve got two big passions: hockey and music. This blog and my other hockey writing gigs allow me to be part of the NHL community in ways that I’d never thought possible. But other than a brief stint as a music writer for a Sonic Slang (I think you might still find my Alma Matters column somewhere using the Wayback Machine), I haven’t been able to write about music as much as I’d like.

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I often make random music quotes and references, and the Rawk the Puck! feature that ran for a few seasons was good fun for music geeks. But now I think I’ve found a pretty cool way to try and bring these two things together. Introducing Puck Rock, and here’s a little bit about how it’ll work—and how you can make it better.

Basically, I’ve sent Q&As to hockey players and personalities that are either known to be big music buffs or musicians. I’ll dig a little bit about their musical taste, their gear (if they play), favorite artists, best gigs, etc….for the fellow music/hockey crossover fans, this should be a unique way to get to know a different side of NHL folks.

Where do you, the faithful reader come in? Well, it’s simple: I’m looking to get as big of a list as possible for players and personnel that would be great for this feature. They can be people that double as musicians (Brian Rolston), are involved with the music industry (Boyd Devereaux), or simply huge music fans (Brad Stuart). If you’ve got recommendations, please leave the name(s) in this post’s comments and I’ll do my best to track them down through their respective media relations folks.

To give you an idea of how it’ll work, here are my answers to some of the questions I’ve sent around to various NHL-related people. Feel free to criticize my answers—us music geeks are rather snobby, after all!

-On your deathbed, a genie allows to either play Game 7 and win the Stanley Cup or play a show at Madison Square Garden as a member of your favorite band. Which do you pick?
If I say this is a tough one, it’s because both music and hockey are equally big in my life. But I’ve played enough gigs with my various bands to know that as cool as MSG would be, something along the lines of San Francisco’s Bottom Of The Hill would suffice—and that’s attainable with a combination of dedication, time, and luck. But Game 7 for the Holy Grail? I don’t think there’s any competition for that.

-Best concert you ever went to and why?
There are many memorable moments that stand out, and I constantly go to gigs where I get that “That was amazing” feeling after I leave. Instead, I’ll break it down by venue size. For outdoor amphitheater, Radiohead on the Kid A tour was incredible despite being in such an impersonal venue. For arenas, being at the very front of the “heart” area in U2’s Elevation Tour was pretty amazing—I’d never thought I’d see such a big (in both popularity and presence) stadium band in a way that felt like I was at a club. For theaters, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp at San Francisco’s historic Fillmore was memorable, not so much because I thought the set list was that great (it was all Cocker’s solo album, no Pulp songs) but because he’s such a dynamite performer. That, and he gave my wife a beer, which was pretty much the highlight of her life, much more so than marrying me! For small clubs, seeing longtime favorite Tanya Donelly at Cafe du Nord was a special because I got to meet her afterward (and I shot this video of her encore). If you actually know who she is, you’ll probably appreciate the fact that she signed a rare Belly 12” that she didn’t even know existed.

-Hit shuffle on your iPod. What’s the song that comes up?
Um, I actually am the only music geek on the planet who doesn’t have an iPod. But a quick random grab from my FineTune list pulls up Placebo’s Every You Every Me

-What are your five desert island discs (best-of compilations and live albums acceptable)?
Five discs is always hard to choose, but here’s a selection based on artist, track list, genre, and overall creativity:

U2’s Achtung Baby, Ladytron’s Witching Hour, The Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs, INXS’ Welcome To Wherever You Are (one of the most creative and underrated albums I’ve ever heard), and Pulp’s This Is Hardcore (American version with Like A Friend).

-What song should they never play again at hockey arenas?
Celebration by Kool & The Gang. A song that should be banned from just about everything.

-What song would you love to see a team skate out to at the start of a game?
Muse’s Knights of Cydonia. Go listen to it if you don’t know it, but picture your favorite team hitting the ice to it. It just works, especially for playoffs.

-All of us have artists or songs that we feel more people should know about. Name one of yours.
There are too many to name but I’m a career-long advocate of Tanya Donelly, ranging from Throwing Muses to Belly to her solo work and her one album with The Breeders. She can rock, she can write folks songs, and her lyrics are always appropriately bewildering.

-You’ve just won the Stanley Cup. What song do you want put on the cheesy montage at the end of the TV broadcast?
Jesus & Mary Chain’s Head On. Give it a listen and tell me that’s not perfect.

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